Monday, June 28, 2010

Last Train for Home

She moved a little closer to the edge after sitting there for a while. The stomach ache gnawed at her now and then. She ignored it. The pain became easier to endure after some practice.

The locomotive in the distant dark cried a muffled woo-woo. She listened and remembered sitting in one a few months ago. How hopeful and bright-eyed she was.

Momma, wait for my letter--she had said to her mother. I will save every penny I make and send them to you. You will be able to buy meat and new fabrics for the family. We will have a much better life after I get there. They say everything is better at the factory. Money, meals, and new dorms. Oh, I can't wait to get there.

She remembered eating dry bread on the train. Her mother saved all she could to make the flat bread for her trip. She couldn't afford to buy anything during the trip. They spent all they had to get her the train ticket.

Momma, they took my ID card the first day I got here. I couldn't go home without it.

They took most of my wages, too. They said it was for security's sake. I soon realized it was for their security, not mine. It was the way to make sure we would stay there forever.

There was plenty of work. Too much work. And we weren't allowed to say no. It seemed the back-orders never stopped flooding in. The kids in "The Beautiful Country" are so lucky. These gadgets we make day and night couldn't fill their demand. They must have so much money.

We didn't have time to rest on days at a time. Often we didn't have time to eat. I had to swallow my rice so fast, soon my stomach started to ache. They wouldn't let me go to the hospital. They would deduct my wages for missing work, they said. So I pushed the pain away and worked.

At night my dorm-mates could hear my pain even though I tried to hide it. The dorms were big rooms with curtain dividers between rows of beds. Ah May was my neighbor. She was worried for me, but there was little she could do to help. She smuggled rice mush for me when she could--it helped ease my pain a bit. My line supervisor was not happy with me. He said I worked too slow. That meant deduction on my wages.

I'm so tired, momma. I feel dizzy. I hadn't slept for two days now. The orders must be filled, so nobody could rest until they were done. I complained to the head of the union once, and I learned not to do it again. The company's manager reprimanded me in front of all my dorm-mates for complaining. I was so naive. I didn't know the union leader reported to him.

We have fifteen minutes for dinner, then we have to go back to work. I snuck up here because it's quiet and peaceful. I'm tired and dizzy, but I'm not hungry. Momma, I really don't want to go back to the factory. I don't know how much longer I could endure the dreadful place and endless work. I don't care if they take my wages. I just want to sleep.

She moved again but wavered and lost her balance. The last thing she saw was the concrete-covered ground rushing up to meet her.

The woman a thousand miles away heard the soft whistle of a train passing by the village. She wondered when her daughter would be home again. Her last letter was more than a month ago. Is she alright? The low and sad whistle made her eyes watery.

She didn't know her daughter had already started her journey home.

(To the twelve workers committed suicide at Foxconn. 'The Beautiful Country' in Chinese means U.S.A.)

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 21, 2010


Go away, I whisper to myself. Please...just go away.

But no. The little girl and her little dog get closer. The bouncy, featherless, naked dog looks into the viny grass where I thought was a good hiding place.

I back up a little when its little brown nose gets close, praying that they don't see me.

"There it is!" The little girl shrieks.

Qua! Qua! Mom is very mad at this--they are getting too close to me. She jumps around yelling with all her force. Soon dad joins her. I could see from under the grass that they both are jumping up and down, and the screaming is almost deafening.

I know they are worried sick, but all this noise is not helping with my hiding.

A woman with another little dog appears from behind a door. At lease this dog has long hair and doesn't look obscenely naked. Something tells me I should move, and fast.

I jump out of the viny grass when the little girl is not looking in my direction, and hop with all the strength I can summon to get away.

The shoulder hurts when I hop, but the other side of the courtyard looks safer than here.

The little dog, the little girl, the woman with the little dog in her arms, all follow me as if I was putting on a magic show. Mom and dad follow me from above--never stop yelling for a second.

This is aggravating. Why couldn't these people just leave me alone? Thank goodness the bushes and grass are coming up. With one last hop I dive into the grass.

The woman disappears and reappears without the little dog, and her hands are covered with something thick. She tries to grab me. I dodge and sidestep in the grass so she can't reach me. I show her my sharp beak and imitate mom's screaming when her hands are upon me. That scares her and makes her stop. She disappears.

A guy appears from nowhere and tries the same thing. I scare him away the same way I did with the woman. All this hopping around trying to stay away from them is hurting me even more.

I survived the night before on unsuspecting bugs and dew drops on the grass. I'm sure I can manage if they will just let me be.

Mom and dad still jump from branch to branch, screaming at the top of their lungs. Qua! Qua! Her voice is getting coarse, but she doesn't stop.

I'm sorry, mom. I didn't mean to make you worry. The worm looked so good and I wanted to show you how strong I was. I didn't see the short tree next to it until too late. I miss our warm and safe home up there. I want to go back, but I don't know when I will be able to fly again. My chest hurts each time the thought occurs.

The woman tells the man she called the animal services. I hope they are less annoying than these people and dogs. I can't get a minute of rest when they are around.

All of a sudden they don't worry me that much anymore.

From the corner of my eyes I could see a steel-gray cat quietly approaching. Mom told me before: it is one of the most dangerous things I should watch for when out hunting for worms.

I'm scared. From the screaming noise made by mom and dad, I know they are, too. I hope I can survive tonight.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

When Good Girl Gone Bad...

I am ashamed to say that I have been a bad girl lately.

I have been a little depressed after the visit to my mom's. We are now in a holding pattern as she couldn't decide whether to move in with me or not. Regardless of her decision some significant challenges will present themselves for sure. The fact that Parkinson's could be genetically passed down didn't help either, so I escaped to the imaginary land of stories. I piled up the awards I was given, awesome blogs that I should have mentioned and passed the awards forward, and buried my head in the sand for the past few months.

That's what I meant by "good girl gone bad." I hope you weren't expecting something else.

There are other reasons for my postponement. Each time I recieve an award it's incredibly humbling for me. Someone thinks my blog is not only worth reading, but worthy of an award! I am forever grateful for being able to make the journey to the wonderland, and take you with me for the ride.

The pressure of passing down the award is another reason. All I can say is there are too many great blogs/writers out there and not enough awards to go around. All the blogs I'm following are wonderful and worth your visit.

Here are the awards I stored away and now is the time to say thanks:

Sarah just finished her 250-page book, so I should say Sarah, a writer is born!

Sandra is a former math teacher. Alas, she has moved on to other things in life. I hope someday she'll revive her blog to document the progress in her artistic pursuit.

He combines the Englishman's humor with the most, eh hum, interesting, pictures on his blog.

Tom's lunacy can be related to many, and particularly, me.

Back to Sarah again. I find her life in Canada as a student very interesting and her writing introspective. I'm sure you will, too.

Thank you all for thinking of me. I have an award for you as well. (see below for the fireworks one)

Some awards have rules to follow and some don't. I can't remember which is which, so I'm making up my own. I'm listing some of the wonderful blogs here for you to check them out. The blog owners below can grab any awards above and do whatever they want:

Hunter has a way with words and is working on a novel. That's how you can tell who a serious writer is.

Bruce's columnist style writing is always insightful and powerful. I won't be surprised if he's secretly working for Boston Globe or New York Times.

Tina's supernatural stories send chills down your spine. She, too, is working on a novel--her second one.

Charlene finds lessons even in life's most difficult chapters. Her blog is always uplifting and inspirational.

Lou is a talented writer. I think she is also working on a novel--another real writer in the making.

Judie makes breathtakingly beautiful arts of various mediums. Her feelings come through in her words and just as touching.

Kitty's stories make you laugh, cry, and laugh some more. Her life in UK will hook you on the first read.

Angie is another artist with an uncommon medium: pyrography. It's a slow but interesting progress.

Robyn has the worst luck in dating, but that makes great blogging material for us. I hope her bad luck continues...just kidding Robyn.

I know I missed quite a few great bloggers out there, so here is an award I made in case you're visiting:

To all the followers and all the blogs I'm following--You are all awesome!


Related Posts with Thumbnails